Warsaw's Risky Flirtation With Washington
Michal Baranowski stands in front of a white-grey world map in his conference room and explains what the state of mind is in Poland: fear. The head of the German Marshall Fund's Warsaw office is an outstanding expert in Polish-American relations and has a broad network. "The economy, increasingly the energy industry, and cultural ties naturally also play a role from a Polish perspective," says Baranowski to the WELT.
"But the security policy aspect has always dominated." Warsaw believes above all that the Americans, together with Poland, can counter a possible Russian aggression. However, Warsaw expects little or no protection from the Europeans. The idea of a European army, which is currently being promoted primarily by Germany and France, is however being pursued with interest.
But for the Poles all this is not going fast enough. "We are acutely facing a security challenge, and a European army would be a project that could be implemented over decades," explains Baranowski. Since the Russian-Georgian War in 2008, or at the latest since Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, the "Russian threat has been an ongoing topic in Poland."
Since the end of state socialism, integration into Western security structures has been the declared goal of the governments in Warsaw, in order to detach themselves from Russian influence and not fall back into it. Poland joined NATO in 1999.